RIO GRANDE (Puerto Rico) — Mateo Fuenmayor from Colombia opened the Latin America Amateur Championship with a 6-under-66 on Thursday. He was 1-shot ahead.
Fuenmayor is a junior at Oregon State. He had tied for seventh in the South American Amateur last week in Ecuador. He made seven birdies while only missing one on the 12th.
Fuenmayor led Vicente Marzilio in Argentina, Martin Cancino in Chile and the Mexican duo Santiago de la Fuente & Luis Carrera by a single shot.
The winner receives an invitation to the Masters and the USGA is offering an exemption to the U.S. Open Los Angeles Country Club.
Marzilio & de la Fuente were tied for second in the Latin America Amateur last year.
Fuenmayor said, I think my strength was the play off of the tee. I used a 2-iron from the tee today and put it off yesterday in practice. I was able, from the fairway, to attack pins and was able I made a lot of putts. It was a great start to the tournament, and I wont lie, it looked big.
Last year, De la Fuente at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic had a birdie to force a playoff but missed. That has stayed with de la Fuente.
For pretty much the entire year, me (and my team) were thinking about the tournament and we were counting down the days to return and play again for this prize, de la Fuente explained.
Aaron Jarvis, the Cayman Islands defense champion, opened the tournament with a 72.